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updated: 2/22/2013 6:01 PM

Ron Rechenmacher: Candidate Profile

Batavia City Council Ward 6 (4-year Term) (Independent)

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  • Ron Rechenmacher, running for Batavia City Council Ward 6 (4-year Term)

      Ron Rechenmacher, running for Batavia City Council Ward 6 (4-year Term)

 

 

 

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Batavia

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Batavia City Council Ward 6 (4-year Term)

Age: 51

Family: Married, two children in high school.

Occupation: Engineer

Education: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, University of Iowa, 1985

Civic involvement: Knights of Columbus, Hesed House volunteer

Elected offices held: none

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

A new focus on gathering input from and having dialogue with the residents of ward 6. In looking over the community survey results of the past few years and also talking with many of the resident of ward 6, it appears that residents would welcome an alderman that would make a real attempt to ask for their input. More importantly, when residents have issues, I want to be the alderman that they want to call or email or meet with. An alderman that will really bring their point of view on the issues back to the council, committees and/or city staff.

Key Issue 2

The downtown revitalization. The residents I talk with know revitalizing downtown is very important and although they appreciate the incentives given to businesses and general attention, effort, and energy that council, staff, and the various committees are giving to it, they are concerned with "return on investment." They would like to know that incentives given to businesses will, as directly as possible, also benefit the citizens of Batavia. Just as an example, the city might offer financial assistance for employee training costs when training residents of Batavia. I would work hard to make sure the citizens of Batavia benefit from the revitalization even beyond the sales/property tax benefits.

Key Issue 3

Transparency. At least some of the citizens want to know all the details about all of what the city council, staff, and committees are doing, and most citizen feel that the staff and council should be as straight forward as possible. One simple example of an area where the staff could improve on their transparency, or at least be a bit more straightforward, is on our electric rates. There is confusion about exactly what the 2 additional line items on our bills, the separate "Monthly Service Charge" and "PPAF" and additionally what the "rate stabilization fund" (mentioned in the 2013 city budget) mean as far as our electric rates are concerned. There are many positive benefits from adopting a formal policy on transparency. There was mention of "transparency" associated with a discussion of an Ethics Policy in meeting minutes of early 2009. I believe it is a trend that cities across the country are adopting transparency policies; even the White House has a policy on transparency. I believe the city of Batavia should also adopt a specific policy on transparency.

Questions & Answers

Does the city council spend the right amount ot time and attention on downtown issues? Explain.

For the most part, yes. Downtown issues are very important to the citizens of Batavia. I believe all the people involved are very conscientious. Some of the residents I talk to are concerned about inefficiencies and that some issues are taking too long to resolve. There are many issues and there are many aspects to each. There's a great many details to keep in mind all at the same time. It does help these residents when they are reminded of this, and I feel they are willing to be more patient especially when they have the opportunity to hear or read about all that is taking place. Here is an example where transparency from the council, staff and committees will be a great benefit.

How should money collected in the city's tax increment financing districts be spent? Is it time to end the TIFs?

According to the city's web site, TIF District #1 should be near its end and it has no debt associated with it. The other TIF District (#3) has been active since 2004. The city has a written policy that is "meant to assist developers, staff and Council in reviewing appropriate uses of TIF funds". This is an example of how, in general, our city has excellent written policies and procedures. The issue for us now is how these written policies and procedures are actually implemented. At this time, most of the ward 6 residents I've talked to feel that it is not time to end TIF #3, but that it is time to end TIF #1.

What is your view of the city's business incentive programs?

For the most part, I think the programs are appropriately aggressive. Although "business" is not just what can be seen from Wilson St., none of the residents I talk with like to see vacancies as they drive through town. They want the council and staff to do what they can to fill the vacancies. When I discuss the incentive programs with residents and explain that the documentation for the programs has provisions to make sure the best interests of the city are met and that risks are low, the residents seem to be satisfied with these programs. However, the concern I see is whether or not the actual implementation will stray from what is written. The residents I've talked to agree that transparency associated with the implementation of these programs will help assure the integrity of these programs.

Talking with your friends and neighbors, what seems to be their biggest public safety concern? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.

For ward 6: side walks along Hart road. There are some places where neither side of the road has sidewalks and there are others where pedestrians have to cross the street only to have to cross back after a short distance. The residents would like the city to complete the line of sidewalks on both sides of the street. Another concern is speeding on street where there is a high concentration of children 10 and under. These residents would like the city to consider using "speed humps" until the children are older and the concentration decreases.

What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?

None, at this time.

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